State v. Smith

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 04-06-2016
  • Case #: A153778
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, J., for the Court; En banc; Tookey, J., dissenting.

Under the officer safety exception to warranties searches of Article 1, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, the state must show that the officer had an objectively reasonable concern for safety based on facts specific to the particular person searched.

Defendant appealed his conviction for methamphetamine possession, arguing that the trial court failed to suppress evidence obtained in a warrantless patdown search. The State contended that the search was reasonable and justified by the officer safety exception of Article 1, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution. Under the standard announced in State v. Rodriguez-Perez, in order to meet the officer safety exception the state must show “that the officer’s belief was objectively reasonable.” 262 Or. App. 206, 213, 325 P.3d 39 (2014). “To be objectively reasonable, the officer’s safety concerns must be based on facts specific to the particular person searched.” Id. (internal quotation omitted). The Court held that the officer’s safety concerns during the search were not objectively reasonable because Defendant was overall cooperative and was not aggressive or threatening during the stop. Additionally, while there was evidence that Defendant had been illegally shooting firearms before the stop, there was no evidence that Defendant was armed during the stop, despite the officer’s subjective belief that he may have had a gun. Reversed and remanded.

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